When Worlds Collide

18th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Now in its 18th year, the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival offers 25 films on timely topics, including environmental activism, health care, indigenous rights in the Americas, prisons, and women’s issues. Many events are facilitated, and in some cases the filmmakers are on hand to discuss their work.

See the complete schedule online at

Thurs., Feb. 15

All Governments Lie

With government deception rampant, and intrusion of state surveillance into private life never more egregious, independent voices like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Amy Goodman are crucially important. All three are inspired by the iconoclastic rebel journalist named I. F. Stone, whose fearless, independent reporting inspired generations of journalists.

7pm • Pickford Film Center (Canada/2016/92min)

Fri., Feb. 16


Pulls back the curtain on the poignant and largely hidden world of in-home elder care. Beautifully shot and deeply moving, the film reveals the deep bonds that form between paid care workers and elders while exposing the cracks in how the United States treats the elderly.

1:30pm • Bellingham Technical College (USA/2017/64min)
100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice

When Elouise Cobell, a petite Blackfeet warrior from Montana, started asking questions about missing money from government managed Indian Trust accounts, she never imagined that one day she would be taking on the world’s most powerful government. This is the story of her 30-year fight for justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral rich lands were grossly mismanaged by the United States government.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2016/75min)

Sat., Feb. 17

Nowhere to Hide

This film follows male nurse Nori Sharif through five years of dramatic change, providing unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas—the “triangle of death” in central Iraq. Nori’s narrative represents persistence, hope and faith in a world torn by war.  Sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 111 and Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

12pm • Pickford Film Center (Norway-Sweden/2016/86min)
Salmon Confidential

What is killing British Columbia’s wild salmon? When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide, a chain of events is set off by government to suppress the findings. Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, into British Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery stores and sushi restaurants. The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to overcome government and industry roadblocks thrown in her path and works to bring critical information to the public in time to save BC’s wild salmon.

2pm • Whatcom Museum Rotunda (Canada/2012/69min)
Sands of Silence

A personal documentary about a journalist who, inspired by the transformation of the sex-trafficking survivors whose lives she is documenting, finds the courage to break the silence about sexual abuse in her own life. Filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle’s message is clear: it’s important to be vocal about personal trauma.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA-Spain/2016/86min)

Sun., Feb. 18

The Bail Trap

The money bail system is a form of ransom, and one of the main feeders of mass incarceration. The reality is that 70 percent of people in jail are there for one reason: living in poverty. Low-income Americans are sitting in jails for days, months, and even years simply because they can’t afford to pay high bail amounts. All the while, private companies are profiting in the billions each year.

1pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2017/34min)
Close Immigrant Prisons

Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in more than 200 immigrant prisons. These prisons have grown into a highly privatized, lucrative and abusive industry that profits off misery. This film, created in partnership with advocates for detainee rights, shines a light on a particularly dark corner of the American justice system.

2pm •  Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2017/15min)
The Return

In 2012, California amended its “Three Strikes” law—one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” was underway. This film examines this unprecedented prison reform through the eyes of those on the front lines—prisoners suddenly freed,

3pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2016/81min)
Black Code

Nicholas de Pencier’s gripping film follows “internet sleuths” from the Toronto-based group Citizen Lab, who travel the world to expose unprecedented levels of global digital espionage. The film reveals exiled Tibetan monks attempting to circumvent China’s surveillance apparatus; Syrian citizens tortured for Facebook posts; Brazilian activists who use social media to livestream police abuses; and Pakistani opponents of online violence campaigns against women.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (Canada/2016/89min)
Peace Is an Inside Job

A convict in the Washington Corrections Center for Women finds peace through yoga.

2:30pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2017/19min)

Mon., Feb. 19

What Lies Upstream

Investigating a massive chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia that left 300,000 people without drinking water for months, filmmaker Cullen Hoback uncovers government and corporate collusion with frightening nationwide public-health implications.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2017/89min)
When Two Worlds Collide

In this tense and immersive tour de force, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan Garcia, who, eager to enter the world stage, begins aggressively extracting oil, minerals, and gas from untouched indigenous Amazonian land. He is quickly met with fierce opposition from indigenous leader Alberto Pizango, whose impassioned speeches against Garcia’s destructive actions prove a powerful rallying cry to throngs of his supporters. When Garcia continues to ignore their pleas, a tense war of words erupts into deadly violence.

7pm • Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (USA/2016/103min)
Close Immigrant Prisons
7pm • Resecreens at First Congregational Church of Bellingham
Hunger Strikes

A Call to End Immigrant Detention: Describes the response to human rights abuses at the Federal Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.

7:15pm •  First Congregational Church of Bellingham (USA/2017/12min)

Tues., Feb. 20

100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice
12pm • Resecreens at Northwest Indian College
Equal Means Equal

An unflinching look at how women are treated in the United States today. Examining both real life stories and precedent-setting legal cases, director Kamala Lopez uncovers how outdated and discriminatory attitudes inform and influence seemingly disparate issues—from workplace harassment to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault to the foster care system, and the healthcare conglomerate to the judicial system.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (USA/2016/93min)

Weds., Feb. 21


It’s estimated every day more than 500 million plastic straws are used once and tossed in the United States alone. Ocean Conservancy ranks straws as among the most found litter item on beaches. They’re non-recyclable, so they wind up in landfills, litter streets and add to the estimated 8.5 million metric tons of plastic debris in oceans annually.

4pm • Whatcom Community College (USA/2017/33min)
Bending the Arc

Thirty years ago, as much of the world was being ravaged by horrific diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, three remarkable young people, barely out of their teens—Jim Yong Kim, Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl—came together in a squatter settlement in Haiti. Determined to provide the same world-class level of medical care they would expect for their own families to the Haitians that soon became their friends, they faced obstacles so enormous they weren’t even considered surmountable by the rest of the world.

7pm • WWU Academic West (USA/2017/102min)
Close Immigrant Prisons
7pm • Resecreens at Bellingham High School
Little Rebel

Inspiring story of an asylum immigrant from The Gambia, who lives in Seattle.

7:30pm • Bellingham High School (USA/2017/10min)
The Bail Trap
7:50pm • Resecreens at Bellingham High School

Thurs., Feb. 22

Yasuni Man

In the depths of South America, where the Andes, the Amazon and the Equator collide, a wilderness exists that is home to some of the last remaining uncontacted people in the world. The forest in which they live may claim our planet’s highest biodiversity. Today, the area hovers on the edge of collapse This documentary tells the story of the conflict that has pitted biodiversity and human rights against extractive industries and human consumption.

12pm • Northwest Indian College (USA/2016/94min)
The Bail Trap
1:30pm • Resecreens at Bellingham Technical College
3:30pm • Rescreens at Sehome High School
Little Rebel
4pm • Resecreens at Whatcom Community College
Watch Night

Stimulating talk about standing up against racism and sexism.

4:30pm • Whatcom Community College (USA/2017/6min)
500 Years: Life in Resistance

From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a president, 500 Years tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history, through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium(USA/2017/108min)

Fri., Feb. 23

What Doesn’t Kill Me

Every day, five million children in the United States experience domestic violence, either as witnesses or victims. This sensitive film by British film maker Rachel Meyrick tells the story of the women and children who are fighting back against a court system biased toward male privilege and wealth. A timely film for America—where radical misogyny is being exposed even in the highest offices and institutions in the country.

6:30pm • Bellingham Public Library (UK/2017/81min)
Yasuni Man
7pm • Resecreens at Fairhaven College Auditorium

Sat., Feb. 24

Watch Night
1:15pm • Rescreens at Fairhaven College Auditorium
Quebec 4 Palestine

Canada is waking up to the cause of Palestine. Interviews with Quebecians supporting Palestine, describing the growing Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement in Montreal, Canada.

12pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (Canada/2017/49min)
Little Rebel
1:30pm • Resecreens at Fairhaven College Auditorium
Kokota: The Islet of Hope

East African Mbarouk Mussa Omarvisited a tiny neighbouring islet called Kokota and was shocked by what he saw. Kokota was teetering towards collapse, and Mbarouk knew climate change and deforestation were the culprits. He wanted to help Kokota, but what could one poor man possibly do? This documentary tells the story of resilient people living on the front lines of climate change and learn how these unlikely heroes have managed to innovatively adapt to a warming climate and reforest their island.

2:15 • Fairhaven College Auditorium (Canada-Tanzania/2016/28min)
3pm • Rescreens at Fairhaven College Auditorium
4:30pm • Rescreens at Fairhaven College Auditorium
The Watershed Guardians of the Fraser River

The  Fraser River is one of the most beautiful rivers of Canada, and essential to the lives of Northwest salmon.  But how healthy is it really? This film journeys and meets with the people who are studying and defending the river and its watershed. With scientists, activists, outdoorsmen, farmers, educators, artists and natives, discover how concerned citizens try to stop its deterioration.

7pm • Fairhaven College Auditorium (Canada/2017/68min)

Tues., Feb. 27

Black Code
3:30pm • Resecreens at Squalicum High School

Academic West Building (Rm. 210, Western Washington University); Bellingham High School Library (2020 Cornwall Ave.); Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Ave.); Bellingham Technical College, Settlemeyer Hall (3028 Lindberg Ave.); Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (1207 Ellsworth St.); Fairhaven College Auditorium, Rm. 300; First Congregational Church of Bellingham (2401 Cornwall Ave.); Northwest Indian College, Log Building (2522 Kwina Rd.); Whatcom Museum, Old City Hall (121 Prospect St., Bellingham); Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St.); Sehome High School, Rm. 125 (2700 Bill McDonald Pkwy.); Squalicum High School, Forum (3773 E. McLeod Rd.) Whatcom Community College, Syre Student Ctr. Rm. 104 (237 W. Kellogg Rd.)


More Film...
The King
Elvis as America

Documentaries about the current state of America, as good as some of them are, often have the effect of news headlines: They come and go, leaving a slight blur. But The King isn’t like other politically and socially inflamed documentaries. Written and directed by Eugene Jarecki (Why We…

more »
A man of constant sorrow

How do you make a movie about stagnation? A movie that doesn’t just tell you a story about someone wasting away, but that seems to embody a state of physical and moral decay for nearly two hours?

It may not sound like a glowing recommendation, but Lucrecia Martel has made such a movie…

more »
Hearts Beat Loud
Life writ small

Brett Haley’s new movie, Hearts Beat Loud, isn’t quite in the same league as his best film, I’ll See You in My Dreams, but I see what he’s up to, and I’m liking it. At a time when popular American movies are heading in the direction of the huge and the simple, Haley is developing…

more »
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:30pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Festival of Music Community Concert

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Wednesday Farmers Market

3:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Downtown Sounds

5:30pm|Downtown Bellingham

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Swing Connection

6:00pm|Seafarers' Memorial Park

Backpacking Basics


Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Vegetarian Pakistani

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Brewers Cruise


Intro to Improv

7:00pm|Improv Playworks

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Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Kids Can Cook, Science Edition

10:00am|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bow Farmers Market

1:00pm|Samish Bay Cheese

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Poetry Writing Group

5:30pm|Village Books

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Ales & Sails

6:00pm| Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Pub Run

6:00pm|BBay Running

Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series

6:00pm| Elizabeth Park

Riverwalk Concert Series

6:00pm|Riverwalk Plaza

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Commedia in the Park

7:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

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Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Commedia in the Park

7:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Wild Things

9:30am|Boulevard Park

Take a Swing at Arthritis

9:30am|North Bellingham Golf Course

Northwest Raspberry Festival


Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Beachside Barbecue

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Commercial Street Night Market

6:00pm|Commercial Street

Burlington Summer Nights

6:00pm|Burlington Visitors Center

Seafarers' Summer

6:00pm|Seafarers' Park

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Dancing on the Green

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Summer of Blood

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Village Books

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Joey Curtin and Jon Mutchler


Charlie King and Rebel Voices


Festival of Music Finale

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall


9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

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